Wed, Oct 10, 2018 - Page 16 News List

‘I’m where I want to be’: Federer


Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili returns to Denis Shapovalov of Canada in their Shanghai Masters first-round singles match in China yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Roger Federer yesterday warned Novak Djokovic and his other Shanghai Masters rivals that he is in prime condition even as another long season approaches its climax.

The 37-year-old Swiss has been carefully managing his schedule, cutting out the clay-court segment of the season since last year to wring the most out of his aging body.

It appears to be working and the 20-time Grand Slam winner opens his defense of the Shanghai Masters this week in ominously good shape.

The world No. 2 played in a victorious Laver Cup campaign in Chicago two weeks ago, following his surprise round-of-16 defeat to Australian John Millman at the US Open.

“The good thing is after feeling good in practice I played a good Laver Cup, have had also some rest after the US Open,” Federer said.

The Swiss great’s prime threats in Shanghai are likely to come from world No. 3 Djokovic — who is in fine form — and world No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, beaten by Federer in last year’s final of the Masters 1000 showpiece, is absent with injury.

Del Potro, who was hindered by the flu in losing Sunday’s China Open final to unseeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, said in Beijing last week that he was running on empty.

Not so Federer, it seems, who is seven years older.

“I feel like I’m where I want to be,” Federer said. “I know that this is where I could be playing a lot of tennis, depending on how I play.”

Federer, who is chasing his fourth title this season, faces Daniil Medvedev in his opener after the feisty Russian yesterday rallied to defeat Chinese wild-card Zhang Ze 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4.

Basilashvili showed that his China Open triumph was no fluke as he brushed aside Denis Shapovalov.

The Georgian, up to a career-high 23 in the world following his victory in Beijing, beat the teenage Canadian 6-2, 6-2 in just 57 minutes.

The 26-year-old Basilashvili next has another upset in his sights when he plays fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the second round.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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